Local debt watcher Philippine Ratings Services Corp. (PhilRatings) has assigned a PRS A rating to state-run Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.), it said on Thursday, March 22.

In a statement, PhilRatings explained that a PRS A rating indicates that a company is “somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than higher-rated corporates.”

Established in 2001 through the merger of Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation and the Guarantee Fund for SMEs, SB Corp. is a government agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry supervised by the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Council.

SB Corp.’s core business is in assisting SMEs with their financial needs. This includes wholesale lending to smaller financial institutions, cooperatives and foundations; retail or direct lending to MSMEs; and guarantee programs for larger banks to cover MSME loans without or insufficient capital.

“While PhilRatings recognizes SB Corporation’s vital social role and mandate, recent developments in relation to the Duterte administration’s plan may have a direct impact on the overall operations of the agency, and possibly even on its corporate franchise,” PhilRatings said. — Arra B. Francia